Taylor Hollingsworth
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Taylor Hollingsworth

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Taylor Hollingsworth @ Tasty World

Athens, Georgia, USA

Athens, Georgia, USA

Taylor Hollingsworth @ GA Theatre

Athens, Georgia, USA

Athens, Georgia, USA

Taylor Hollingsworth @ Flying Monkey Arts

Huntsville, Alabama, USA

Huntsville, Alabama, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


Birmingham, Ala.'s Taylor Hollingsworth and his three-piece backing crew don't really care if you need another garage band like you need another four years of Bush. Not only do they not care, they are going to provide you one with the attitude of Bowie, the snarl of Black Francis and a foot the size of Shaquille O'Neal to kick you in the ass with, of course.
—David Pelfrey
- Creative Loafing - Atlanta, Weekly Planet - Charlotte

"... if bluesy rock-n-roll infused into solid, dirty pop songs is your particular drug of choice, then the sound of Taylor and the Puffs is homegrown black-tar heroin..." - Birmingham Weekly

Taylor and the Puffs

I'm not certain, but I believe this thing we received at the office is White Out, the new EP from Taylor and the Puffs. The 20-minute cassette is clad in a bright red handmade label, and the title is crudely scrawled in White Out, which has crumbled all over the place (info on the sleeve is in ballpoint pen). The package for the band's CD, You Know That Summer's Comin', is desktop publishing at its most hurried and haphazard. If these were items from Pavement or The Fall, each would be regarded as just one more element of those bands' studied, practiced, and wholly affected amateurism. It's hard to be so sure about these Birmingham guys, though. They may just be plain pathetic. That in no respect precludes their being the best garage band this city has seen in a great long while. Maybe ever.

They are sloppy and wild in the mode of the Stooges or The MC5 (or the Rolling Stones at their worst), which are likely models, yet this band's overall tone often recalls bands such as The Only Ones or The Heartbreakers. If they played fast and hard instead of loose and slinky, they could even be The Saints. A lot of the sloppiness is salvaged, or accented, by white-hot guitar runs that take the sound into Johnny Thunders territory, by way of Billy Gibbons. Vocals, for the most part, remain in the more disturbing/intriguing range of Peter Perret and Nikki Sudden, so you can see why it is difficult to accept this band's approach as just a happy accident. Anyone who doesn't know who Sudden and Perret are should not be allowed near the stage where Taylor and the Puffs perform; in fact, I'm calling security right now.

More pleasing still is the band's tendency to open in a T. Rex kind of way, and then finish the same song as Foghat or even, in the case of "When I Get Around," ZZ Top. Maybe that's what we like about the South. An especially sleazy number, "You're Lost," is basically an extended—very extended—take on Alice Cooper's "Eighteen," although it is doubtful that these lads know they have done such a spooky thing; 18 appears to be their median age, judging from photos. They probably have never heard of the New York Dolls, even though that is who they were in a past life.

The most hopeful quality that these youngsters exhibit is an affinity for the rawest segment of the T. Rex/David Bowie glam era. If they continue in that vein, it is imperative that the very able guitarist Taylor Hollingsworth tune his instrument and choose his chords as though he were Mick Ronson. They've already got the Marc Bolan thing down, and Hollingsworth's excellent blues trappings need no more polishing, as that dulls the edge. Also essential is the addition of catchy riffs and melodies, a Marc Bolan trademark if ever there was one. Yet, if the wonderful acoustic number on the EP is any evidence (it sounded accidentally tacked on, and there's no title, of course), song craft won't be a problem either. Catch this band at City Stages, because right now, they are astonishing, and you'll want to see them before they become amazing. —David Pelfrey (Saturday, June 19, 3:35 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.)
- Black and White City Paper

Few people familiar with Birmingham music are completely new to the name Taylor Hollingsworth. Taylor played guitar with local rock kings Verbena in their prime, and for the past year has been fronting his own band Taylor and the Puffs, though you may have known it under one if its other six incarnations. Amidst a vortex of name-changing that would have made Spinal Tap blush, the band has been called The Silverpops, Silverpops, the Silver Pops, the Puffs, the Pink Puffs, and Taylor and the Pink Puffs before finally settling on their current nom de la scène. Anyone who has taken in a show can't help that acknowledge that Taylor's lifetime of playing guitar has paid off–his deep blues riffs and stunning solos often wow his audience into stunned silence, and cause explosions of applause after the final note. Fleabomb recently got a chance to ask Taylor the really important questions concerning music, one of which is why he recorded his latest EP on an analog tape (currently released by Skybucket Records).
FB: Why record on a tape when I finally took my tape-player out of my car six months ago?

TH Tape is the shit....

FB: You've stuck with the same name, Taylor and the Puffs, for about eight months now. How did you do it?

TH: Not sure... still think about changing it.

FB: Who are "The Puffs," and how do they feel about being associated with pastries?

TH: The puffs are Macey Taylor, and Blake Williamson. They are not here but I think I can speak for them and say that never in their wildest dreams would they have ever thought they would be associated with any breakfast item.

FB: Who is your guitar idol?

TH: I've been influenced by many guitarists, but I would say, like many others often do... Jimi Hendrix.

FB: How long have you been playing guitar, and who were some people around here that influenced you at a young age?

TH: Almost 10 years... I was influenced by the obvious 90s radio bands like Nirvana, Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr., and classic bands like Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Stones, and The Beatles. As far as around here goes my brother Van had a big influence on me, and the guys that hung out at highland music, like Tony Lombardo, Ben Trexel, Don Murdoch, and then also my friends that I would jam with, some of whom you know: Banks, Martin, Britt, and many others.

FB: One word that comes to mind when I listen to your music is metallic: does that make any sense, and if so, where does that twangy, metallic sound come from (artistically rather than literally)?

TH: Metallica? Never really been a fan but Kurt Hammet can really shred. I guess I just play that way...

FB: What TV personality do you feel you could take in a fight?

TH: I guess I think I could kick the shit out of Barney Fife, although I do love the guy.

FB: Describe your most memorable bowel movement.

TH: Hell hole in Budapest a few weeks ago...hands down!

FB: What would be your dream gig?

TH: Playing at the high note lounge and Christian Laetner is there. No, I guess I don't really have a dream gig, or I have a thousand dream gigs which would basically just be to play with people I respect and to be treated as an equal. I guess that would be a dream gig, at least a realistic one. I mean I could say to open for The Beatles or something.

FB: Do you think that, as a musician, you'll ever rise to the level of a Mark Slaughter or a Doug Aldrich?

TH: Not even if I sold my soul to Satan.

FB: How much did your days with Verbena influence you as a songwriter, and a guitarist?

TH: Who? Oh yeah, them... this much (my hands are held apart about 2 feet) Actually I was probably influenced by the band more before I played with them.

FB: Usually when I see you the day after a show, you have the prefect rock-star look. How does a lay-person such as myself achieve that look, without "rocking out" as you young people put it?

TH: There is no other way to achieve this look Stanley... I mean, let's get serious here. I'm not saying you have to rock out at a show but I am saying you have to rock out, like in your closet or something.

FB: If TV's ALF said he would pay you $10-million to sleep with him, would you do it?

TH: I would do a lot of things for ten million.

FB: What do you want your audiences to walk away from one of your shows with?

TH: I would like people to walk away feeling like the sky just opened up, lightning struck the ground, the earth shook, and they can't live another day without it... only they can, and they come again to the next show. Of course if they just thought it was pretty cool, this would be o.k. too.
- Fleabomb.com

How many more damned garage bands do we need in this already bloated hog of a niche?
Well, based on the caliber of You Know That Summer's Comin', we need to allow for one more. I hate to hang that hat on Taylor (Hollingsworth) and the Puffs, as they are anything but a mere Strokes rip-off band -- they bring equal measures of Rolling Stones, Pixies, Beck, Replacements, T-Rex and Soul Asylum (remember when they were good?) to the game and serve it up as something unique. "Take the Money" mixes the dirty South with Harlem sass, and the resultant sound might have been a B-side from the Stones' Tattoo You sessions. "Summer's Comin'", on an entirely different tack, delivers a poppy faux-calliope-driven hook that creeps along behind Hollingsworth, who musters his best Wayne Coyne impression for the occasion.

What do you think might happen next? Wrong. The band rolls out the glam-rocking, Marc Bolanesque "Whole Lotta Shakin" -- listen to the guitar shredding on this one if you doubt the talent at work here. The fourteen-minute epic "You're Lost" recalls a costumed Bowie circa 1979, and tacks on a gritty 12-bar blues-inspired outro at the eight-and-a-half-minute mark. Macabre vocals slither between your ears as Hollingsworth sings, "Well, I want you to know / well, I've got one hand one your money, baby, and two around your throat."

You Know That Summer's Comin''s most endearing aspect is its lo-fi recording aesthetic -- and before you shoot me for that most unoriginal of descriptions, hear me out. It's doubtful that Taylor and company did much polishing when they transferred the four-track demos to Denial Studios (?), run by Daniel Farris (??), as the mix is pure crap. Glorious crap. The kind of wonderfully glorious and honest crap that you can't replicate with Sony looking over your shoulder. Each track sounds different from those that surround it -- sometimes bass-heavy, sometimes hella treble-heavy and always sloppy in a Stereophonic Soul Manure kind of way. This would probably be annoying if it weren't for the Puffs' commitment to the songs and their insistence that "yeah, this guitar in your right ear is way too damn loud -- so let me turn it up a little".

Forget bands like Jet: that stuff is played. I thought that someone gave Meg White a couple of uppers when I heard it. Taylor and the Puffs have my vote for the anti-garage band of the year.
- Splendid Magazine

Show Review- Tasty World, Athens

For an accomplished indie rocker, Taylor Hollingsworth looks as deceptively
young as he is rakishly thin, but the lad's been around and his laid-back
vocals bear the hallmark of someone who's not trying too hard but has grown
out of the post-Nirvana slacker era (albeit in Birmingham, AL).
Hollingsworth rolled with the Dave Grohl-produced Southern rock outfit
Verbena in the early 2000s, and while his vocals are less than tumescent,
his guitar and the driving beats and heavy bass lines are pure Ramones-style

With the Ishues show pumping upstairs, the volume downstairs is up (down?)
to old Tasty World standards, making it hard to discern a lot from the
vocals except to say they are what you'd expect from a moderately melodic,
hard, ‘90s indie rock sound. Mid-set, the trio abandons all pretense of
indie rock for a while, and plays some cranking 12-bar "She's Got The
Jack"-style blues before going for an old alt-country ballad about someone
called Dolly. The final song is pure speed rock with Hendrix blues riffage
as Hollingsworth plays with his tuning pegs on the fly to create a devolved
mire of whaling sounds. Nice boys, nice rock, nice show.
—Ben Gerrard
- Flagpole

"Wow...I don't know what to say? Taylor Hollingsworth's "Shoot Me, Shoot Me, Heaven" is fucking brilliant, excuse my language. I love Johnny Thunders, Keith Richards, Izzy Stradlin, and Dinosaur Jr. more than anything in this world. Glad to know someone else appreciates them also."
—Jeff Clark, Daily Times Leader
- Daily Times Leader

If you’re not careful, Birmingham can swallow you whole if you’re of a particularly sensitive and artistic disposition. If you want to be an artist living in Alabama, you have to be tough as nails. As if any art medium were a valid pursuit for monetary can, in Alabama, one’s chances of making it as a musician, painter, or filmmaker aren’t too good. Most youngsters interested in such crafts are discouraged by the lack of anyone in their immediate area who has gained any significant amount of recognition.

If you’re an artist and you don’t move somewhere more hipster-friendly, there’s a good chance you don’t let anyone tell you how to spend your time. For years, Taylor Hollingsworth has toured and recorded under the moniker of various groups, always with a rotating list of collaborators. Not surprisingly, his solo work, titled Shoot Me, Shoot Me, Heaven, contains two songs from his previous album You Know That Summer’s Comin, recorded as Taylor & the Puffs and released in 2003.

“I think it’s very similar to the Taylor & the Puffs stuff,” allows Hollingsworth. “It’s recorded the same way - on a four-track. I think that the differences are probably in my vocals. I’m finding more of my own voice, or a way to sing. Two songs were on that first thing I did, so overall I find that they’re pretty similar. I think that the next stuff I put out is going to be the most different.”

Hollingsworth won’t go into specifics, as it seems the artist has a few tricks up his sleeve. Anyone expecting Hollingsworth to continue being one of the few hold-outs of the cassette-music movement had better wise up. If anything’s certain, it’s that Hollingsworth’s days of muddy and blurry recordings are numbered. “I want it to be bigger,” says Hollingsworth of his next recording. “I want it to [have] more of a studio sound. And I want to be able to reach a broader audience, I guess... But I do want to keep it pretty jagged. I don’t want it to be real Pro-Tools stuff or anything like that. I would like to record on two-inch tape and not edit it on my computer. I am going to work with a producer, [and] I am going to be open to their ideas. Hopefully, I’m not going to lose what I’m trying to do.”

The degree of control Hollingsworth has over the presentation and integrity of his music would be the envy of many bands fucked over by labels, be they major or indie. Hollingsworth has only had good luck with labels, first with the extremely supportive but smaller scale Skybucket Records and later with Brash Music. At no point has Hollingsworth been told to compromise his work or otherwise fit any sort of convenient definition. Both labels sought after him because they felt his unique sound and vision was exactly what many music fans are looking for.

“When I did the whole Brash thing, I thought it would be a good move for me just because they can get me out a little bit further,” Hollingsworth says of his most recent record deal. “When they were interested in putting out that stuff, I was pretty stoked just because it’s so lo-fi. But it seems like I’m controlling things as of now. I think they’re starting to gain trust in me. At first they questioned it, and then they liked it, and I think it’s gotten a better response than they probably expected. I think I’ll be able to do whatever satisfies me.”

While listeners can expect a slicker, more professional sound from Taylor Hollingsworth in the future, they can also expect his inventive and clever lyrics will continue to deepen in meaning and impact. “I still focus on the music,” says Hollingsworth, “but [with the newer songs] I definitely focused more on the lyrics. I wrote the lyrics to several of the songs first - before I wrote the music, and I had never done that before.”

While Hollingsworth’s appropriation of the very best elements of lo-fi, grunge, and American indie-pop might suggest an audiophile with racks and racks of vinyl and CD’s, but the truth is that he is fairly selective in his tastes. “I don’t have an extensive record collection in any way,” Hollingsworth admits. “I get into albums and I listen to the same album for like a year, and it’s kind of all over the place. [I listen] mostly [to] classic rock, though.”

Although Hollingsworth’s work with musicians in the Birmingham area and beyond have been nothing short of successful, the artist’s creative process is still a solitary one. “With some stuff I’ll try to write it, but my best stuff just comes to me,” explains Hollingsworth. “I’ll either get some sort of lyrical idea and melody sort of going around in my head, when I’m driving or something. And I’ll get my guitar and keep singing it over and over, and that’s usually that will be the chorus or something, and I’ll write the verse sort of [around] the chorus.” There may not be any particular formula to Hollingsworth’s music, but his songwriting ability is consistently impressive and shows a mastery of the attraction of the pop song.

Hollingsworth may have ha - Southeastern Performer

2 a.m. • March 15 • A random house in Ruston , Louisiana

It's two o'clock in the morning in Ruston, La., and we're all being accused of stealing. A ruddy-faced, slightly belligerent and obviously intoxicated girl has dead-bolted the front door, turning three separate locks, and is now questioning her guests, without ceremony:

“Which one of you motherfuckers took my two hundred dollars?”

Everybody stops talking, except for drummer Les Nuby, who quips under his breath, “In addition, we'd like to know who stole the cookie from the cookie jar.”

But I'm not laughing. Truth be told, I'm starting to regret my decision to accompany Taylor Hollingsworth and his band, The Tragic City Rhythm Section, on the mini-tour that will conclude with a showcase at the annual and revered South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas — that is, if we aren't permanently detained in some dank jail cell in Ruston, the city that culture forgot.

Hollingsworth, perhaps emboldened by his role as front man of the band that bears his name, tries to reason with our captors.

“Look, it's obvious someone stole your money, but I can assure you it wasn't one of us,” he says.

Nevertheless, it seems painfully apparent that no simple declaration of innocence will extricate us from the charge of larceny. There is no due process in this house.

For my part, I try to look as guiltless as possible, an endeavor nearly impossible to pull off given that, should a search become necessary, I just happen to have $200 in traveling money in my front pocket.

We arrived at our current location following a show that Hollingsworth played earlier at a bar more suited for cover bands than original rock music. After the show, we'd agreed to accompany some Louisiana Tech students to their house, an idea that quickly soured when one of them misplaced a couple hundred dollars.

Our motley group includes Hollingsworth, Nuby, bassist Macey Taylor and Andy King, a filmmaker and musician who is filming the entire journey to Austin for an upcoming documentary. Unfortunately his camera is in the van while we live out what feels like an episode of some bad Reality TV series.

Of course, my purpose on this trip is to conduct interviews with the various band members and, perhaps nebulously, soak up my surroundings. I've known Hollingsworth for nearly a decade now and watched him evolve as a musician, from his early days butchering Led Zeppelin songs in various neighborhood basements, to inking a record deal with Brash and preparing to tour nationally.

“I started playing guitar because it looked like something cool to do,” Hollingsworth says. He gestures at his rail-thin physique. “Obviously playing sports wasn't an option.”

Even early on, Hollingsworth progressed quickly on the guitar, easily eclipsing the skill levels of his peers. But, like most musicians, his improvement wasn't a smooth upward slope, but an arduous series of stagnations punctuated by the clarity of breakthrough moments.

“The first milestone for me was getting to the point where I could jam and figure out how songs worked,” Hollingsworth remembers. “Then I was in a rut for awhile until I started paying attention to how those songs were written and learned how to write my own.”

I ask him if, for someone at his skill level, ruts are still a problem.

“Most certainly,” he says. “I'll catch myself writing the same song over and over again, but I just keep playing and figuring out new things to do.”

As in most professions, Hollingsworth had to pay his dues before setting off on his own. Over the years he's played with many numerous local bands, including Flair, Cutgrass, The Dexateens and, briefly, Verbena, where he met Nuby. Undoubtedly, supporting roles in so many bands at different levels of success taught Taylor the ins and outs of running a band.

“I leaned different guitar methods, like open-tunings, bending in and out of chords, and how to control the dynamics in a band,” he says.

All good lessons, sure, but none of which will disentangle us from the quickly escalating situation in Ruston, La.

“Where is my money?”

This has become the refrain of the last 10 minutes as we all nervously turn over seat cushions in an effort to discover the cash.

Macey Taylor contributes to the search as best he can, suggesting that our complainant check in various places.

“What about behind the dresser?” Taylor asks. “Sometimes I drop stuff behind my dresser.”

Then, just as I'm considering jumping out of the window and begging the Weekly to buy me a plane ticket home, the money is found — thankfully not on one of us, but in the front pocket of our absent-minded accuser.

As we walk towards the van, freed from our bizarre detainment, Nuby places the preceding half-hour in context.

“In my nine years of touring,” he says, “that is the weirdest thing I've ever experienced.”

No one argues with him.

6 p.m. • March 17 • Spin P - Birmingham Weekly


a. Shoot Me, Shoot Me, Heaven EP
Brash Music
compact disc
released January 2005

1. you just wanna
2. how could you be so cold
3. when i get around
4. come along
5. shoot me, shoot me, heaven
6. you're lost

b. On White Out EP
Skybucket Records 3
cassette (ltd. to 100 copies)
released February 2004

Side A
shoot me shoot me heaven
shoot me (acoustic)
zelda blues
i don't know
Side B
when i get around

all music written and recorded by Taylor Hollingsworth at Sexy Elephant Studios
except on 'when i get around' Macey Taylor plays bass

c. You Know That Summer's Comin' LP
Skybucket Records 2
compact disc
released August 2003

1. take the money
2. summers comin'
3. whole lotta shakin'
4. dolly dee
5. bible belt stomp
6. it don't come easy
7. cottendale misery
8. you just wanna be alone
9. you're lost


Feeling a bit camera shy


See press / discography or www.taylorhollingsworth.com